June 21, 2002: Mets Score in 9th to Beat Royals

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Date: June 21, 2002
Mets starter: Shawn Estes
Mets: 4
Royals: 3
Winning pitcher: Mark Guthrie
Key player(s): Edgardo Alfonzo, Rey Ordonez
Key play: Ordonez’s single, Alfonzo’s homer and single, Randa’s error

The Mets faced the Royals on a Friday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the opener of a three-game interleague series. The Mets scored a run in the ninth inning for a 4-3 win over Kansas City.

With one out in the top of the first inning, Neifi Perez singled and advanced to second base on an error by Mets’ starter Shawn Estes. Neifi Perez moved to third on Carlos Beltran’s ground out to third baseman Edgardo Alfonzo. A home run by Mike Sweeney gave the Royals a 2-0 lead. Joe Randa drew a walk and double by Brandon Berger followed. Trying to score on Berger’s hit, Randa was out at home via a throw by center fielder Jay Payton to catcher Mike Piazza to end the inning. Kansas City’s Darrell May then pitched a perfect bottom half.

Estes gave up just a single to Raul Ibanez in the top of the second. Mo Vaughn hit a leadoff double in the bottom of the inning. Alfonzo popped out to shortstop Neifi Perez and a fly ball by Jeromy Burnitz was caught by right fielder Berger. Payton hit a single and Rey Ordonez singled to drive home Vaughn. May then threw a called third strike past Estes for the inning’s final out.

Following a scoreless third, Estes retired the Royals in order in the top of the fourth. Alfonzo began the bottom half with a home run to tie the game. Burnitz popped out to third baseman Randa and a single by Payton ensued. Ordonez hit a ground ball to first baseman Sweeney for a double play that ended the inning and Estes hurled a perfect top of the fifth. May then pitched a scoreless bottom half.

Beltran drew a walk to open the top of the sixth inning. Sweeney singled to send Beltran to third base. Randa followed with a sacrifice fly to bring home Beltran for a 3-2 Kansas City lead. Berger grounded back to Estes for an inning-ending double play and May yielded only a single to Burnitz in the bottom half. A. J. Hinch singled against Estes with one out in the top of the seventh. May drew a walk and Mets’ reliever David Weathers retired Carlos Febles on a fly ball to right fielder Burnitz. Weathers got Neifi Perez on a force play grounder to shortstop Ordonez for the inning’s third out. With two outs in the bottom half, Roger Cedeno doubled to right field. May then threw a called third strike past Roberto Alomar to close out the inning.

Mets’ reliever Scott Strickland set down the side in order in the top of the eighth. Against the Royals’ Cory Bailey to begin the bottom half, Piazza got an infield single and advanced to second base on an error by Neifi Perez. Vaughn grounded out to Sweeney to send Piazza to third. Alfonzo hit a single that scored pinch-runner Joe McEwing and tied the game at 3-3. Burnitz flied out to Berger and a single by Payton sent Alfonzo to third. Bailey then retired pinch-hitter Timo Perez on a ground ball to second baseman Febles to end the inning.

Strickland retired Berger on a grounder to second baseman Alomar to open the top of the ninth. Ibanez hit a triple and pinch-hitter Luis Alicea was given an intentional walk. Mets’ reliever Mark Guthrie struck out pinch-hitter Brent Mayne as Alicea stole second base. Febles drew a walk to load the bases. Guthrie then got Neifi Perez to hit a force play ground ball to Alfonzo for the final out of the inning.

Kansas City reliever Brad Voyles walked pinch-hitter Tony Tarasco to begin the bottom of the ninth. Cedeno’s sacrifice bunt moved Tarasco to second base and an intentional walk to Alomar ensued. Voyles retired McEwing on a fly ball to center fielder Beltran. Vaughn followed with an infield single against the Royals’ Scott Mullen. On the play, Randa made an error that allowed Tarasco to come home with the winning run. The Mets had a victory to start the weekend series.